Flame of Hope torch lit on the UAE’s highest mountain

The Olympic torch is being carried through the Emirates ahead of the start of the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi

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The Flame of Hope torch was lit from the UAE's highest mountain - as the countdown to the Special Olympics World Games continues to gather pace.

Torch runners, known as "Guardians of the Flame", started the second leg of a 10-day journey spanning the Emirates 1,900 metres above sea level at Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah on Tuesday.

The torch was then led on a 300 metre run from the peak of the mountain to its observation deck.

The torch runners, made up of athletes and law enforcement officers from across the globe, were greeted by a traditional Emirati band on their arrival, with Major General Mohammed Al Humaidi, director general of central operations at RAK police and Mohamed Ali Musabah Al Nuaimi, chairman of RAK Chamber of Commerce and Industry, among the cheering crowds.

A number of RAK sports clubs trainers joined the torch run as the group descended from the mountain peak.

Captain Ahmad Najar, from Al Rams Sports and Cultural Club, said he was honoured to be able to participate in the run and see the Olympic torch up close.

“We are very happy to have this unique opportunity to show our support to people of determination and to participate in this global event,” said Captain Najar, 36.

Another football trainer from Emirates Club said that the Games can help bring the world together.

“Sport is a universal language that unifies the world and people regardless of their abilities, nationalities and language,” said Captain Hatem Al Nieli.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m very proud to be part of this event and to have the opportunity to show our support to people with special needs.”

Students from RAK Higher College of Technology - Women’s campus said that they were proud that their emirate was part of the tourch tour.

“This day will be marked in our history and it’s a proof that we are always supporting people of determination and encouraging them to enhance their talents in many fields such as sports,” said Fatima Al Tunaiji, a 22-year-old Emirati business student.

The group then moved to RAK Museum for a 50 metre run before they joined the final ceremony which took place at Al Qawassim Corniche.

The second group of Guardians started their run from the Ritz-Carlton hotel, Al Wadi Desert and moved to the abandoned pearling town, Jazirat Al Hamra and then to Waldorf Astoria hotel and Al Marjan Island.

Both groups gathered at Al Qawassim Corniche at the end of each run to attend the main ceremony and light the final cauldron in the emirate before moving to Umm Al Quwain, where the Olympic flame will be carried to attractions such as Umm Al Quwain Autism Center, Umm Al Quwain Mangroves and Martyr's Square.

The torch’s final destination is the opening ceremony of the Games, which will be held on March 14.